FAITH UNDER FIRE
Iran uses beatings to pressure Christian pastor
Reports confirm jailed leader resisting campaign to make him recant
By Michael Carl
Beatings and solitary confinement are two of the tools being used by Iranian officials to pressure a Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani condemned for blasphemy to recant his faith, according to reports.
Iran has planned to execute Nadarkhani, but he remains alive because of the international furor created by the Islamic republic's plan to destroy a man who says he never was a Muslim.
Compass Direct says the Church of Iran pastor who has been on death row since his blasphemy conviction in September 2010 "is in deteriorating health," according to a member of Nadarkhani's denomination, who requested anonymity.
Compass also reported this week that the information is sketchy because communication is very limited.
Aidan Clay, International Christian Concern's Middle East specialist, says Nadarkhani is enduring harsh treatment.
"Recent reports indicate that Pastor Youcef has been struck by authorities during frequent interrogations and has been placed in solitary confinement for extended periods of time," Clay said.
Clay said Nadarkhani is also under continual pressure to recant his Christian faith.
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